Hofbrauhaus Wolters - Wolters Fest-Bier
- ABV: 5.4%
- Serving Temperature: 45-50°F
- Suggested Glassware: Mug or Stein
Wolters Fest-Bier pours a light coppery-amber color with a large, pillowy head from an aggressive pour. On the nose, look for notes of lightly toasted bread, biscuits, mildly fruity Munich malts, and a touch of honey sweetness. Overlaying the malts are some herbal and grassy noble hop aromas, providing a very German character, along with a touch of fruit hinting toward apple flesh. On the palate, the beer comes across fairly round and medium bodied. Expect flavors of sweet bready malts, light caramel, hints of paper, a somewhat dusty and earthy lager yeast quality, and a very mild tart note in the finish. This is a perfect beer for a beer festival; some versions of the festbier style lean more toward what we would think of as a classic märzen, with a fuller-bodied caramel malt character and very strong bready notes, but Wolters brews their Fest-Bier a bit lighter with a somewhat more pronounced noble hop profile of grassy, herbal, spiciness that is emblematic of so many great German beers. The creamy, finely-carbonated, medium body of this brew is a delight, and kept us coming back for more. Enjoy with some brats or knockwurst and sauerkraut, or a hearty stew. Prost!
The story behind Hofbrauhaus Wolters reaches as far back as 1627, when Zaccharis Boiling received approval to begin brewing and selling beer in Brunswick, Germany. In 1734, Heinrich Levin Wolters came into control of the brewery, lending his name to the operation and starting a dynasty that would last through six generations of Wolters family brewers. The Wolters brewery has been a landmark in the city for hundreds of years, with the Duke of Brunswick even selecting Wolters as the official beer supplier to his court (and in fact, the brewery adopted the Dukedom of Brunswick’s coat-of-arms as their logo, which you can see on their labels to this day).
Like so many other breweries across Europe, Wolters endured an extremely difficult and dark time during World War II. Large portions of the city of Brunswick were wiped out by Allied bombing raids, and the brewery suffered extensive damage. Fortunately for the brewery and all the residents of the city, after the war Brunswick was located within West Germany. While many breweries in East Germany languished under communist government control, Wolters managed to not only resume operations, but to grow their business and modernize their brewing operations significantly. The brewery was reconstructed in 1947, and a large renovation and modernization effort in 1976 transformed Wolters into a world-class brewing facility. In 2003 Wolters was acquired by brewing conglomerate InBev, but the marriage didn’t last long. By 2006 Wolters had split from InBev, re-emerging as a private brewery in control of its own fate once again – a healthy development in our opinion in a world increasingly dominated by mega brewers like InBev (which went on to merge with Anheuser-Busch in 2008).
As a long-established regional brewery and sponsor of local beer festivals, Wolters has traditionally focused their marketing efforts and growth targets in the greater Lower Saxony region in an approximately 50 mile radius from Brunswick. However, they’ve recently begun exporting their beers (essentially taking on their former InBev owners, who had effectively shut down Wolters’ previous export business in favor of their big international brands). Within just the first two years they established export markets in diverse countries around the world including the U.S., China, Lithuania, Ireland, Romania, and Mexico. Their success is testament to the quality of traditional German beer, and proves there’s a thirsty public out there that demands the good stuff. Prost!
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